You can start by choosing an eco-friendly place to stay. According to Frommer travel guides, “Washington, D.C., was the first major city to require developers to adhere to guidelines established by the U.S. Green Building Council.” Many hotels go the extra step of using eco-friendly practices or even "adopting" parks that they then maintain. The Willard Intercontinental, for instance, relies only on renewable energy.
The Kimpton chain of hotels has 140 hotels in the country’s most visited tourist spots, with 11 of them in the D.C. area. They take their impact on the environmental very seriously. They use only organic and/or recycled products – from their cleaning supplies, to the ink in their printers, to the stationary and soaps they stock in your room. They donate old towels, linens, plastic bottles, TVs, mugs – even partially used shampoos and conditioners – to local charities. They recycle everything, and whenever possible, use only recycled products. They don’t even keep telephone directories or maps in their rooms; you have to access those online.
Likewise, with their restaurants. Their menus feature local, organic, and sustainable foods, and the company’s a stickler, right down to not offering condiment packets. I’d love to go and on about this awesome company, but if you’re interested, you can read more about them here.
|(Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid)|
D.C. boasts a variety of other eclectic and award-winning eco-eateries: seafood restaurant, Hook, was named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the country’s top 10 eco-friendly restaurants. Equinox, where Michelle Obama celebrated her birthday, uses ingredients grown within 100 miles of the restaurant.
Java Green and Café Green, Sticky Fingers Bakery, Science Club, and Blue Duck Tavern are other eco-friendly places to eat. Check out their links too – they tell some interesting stories. (For example, Java Green uses wind power; one of Sticky Fingers’ female founders left to front a rock band known as the Iron Maidens; the Science Club got its name because it looks like a laboratory; and Blue Duck features all hand-crafted furniture plus a wood-burning oven.)
So now you’re staying in an eco-friendly place and eating eco-friendly food. How do you get around? Washington, D.C., is infinitely walkable with great public transit (that in itself is trying to become more eco-friendly, with many Metro buses now running on compressed natural gas instead of diesel). If you’re over 16, you can take in the city’s great national treasures using segways, which are pretty ubiquitous these days. If you need to trek farther out, an enviroCAB hybrid taxi can get you there. Or consider renting a bike to get around -- we have an abundance of trails and bike paths.
|Great Falls, along the Potomac River, is a state park of both |
Virginia and Maryland, about 15 miles from D.C.
Still, it's one of the most livable metropolises in the world. At least, we think so.